Friday, August 01, 2008

Are we really innovating?

Don’t know why but since few days I am asking this question to my self and to many. The answer I get is bit strange…

To start with what is an innovation? A solution to a common problem (addresses the need) that is accepted globally may be?

While I was in school we used to read lot of books on quiz and innovations and if you have noticed there used to be lot of discoveries in 18th century and early 19th as well, but after mid 19th century they have dropped considerably

Does this mean we have stopped innovating? No way:

  • Daily there are tons of concepts, ideas and thoughts floating around every area of research.
  • The amount of investment in terms of money, time, effort on research has grown drastically over recent years
  • Every year there are 100s of new products getting launched in all segments.
  • So many patents being filed every year.

But why don’t we call them as innovation? Why are they not getting into regular books that we used to read?

An answer given by one of my favorite was “we have to wait till we call them as innovation, may be after some years we will treat these as achievements/innovations”

The one that I believe in is “We are sharing an innovation” – there is no longer a single person involved in innovation. The technology is growing exponentially, an idea needs lot of effort to turn it into a solution for our problem.

To dig more: My favorite innovation is Electric Lamp from Thomas A Edison, if I do some self reasoning, I enter into following questions and self answers

  • What made him invent Electric Lamp? --- Need?
  • He had other energies like Solar, Hydro, etc then why Electricity? --- Accessibility and feasibility may be?
  • Was he aware that there was this energy in electricity that can produce Light? Yes, amazing?
  • If he had used other sources of energy, would that have been a right choice? No, the innovation might have been deprecated by now.
  • How this innovation reached all corners of earth? Today we spend so much on marketing, how did this get marketed? --- May be Common Need of people across the world and demand than some one pushing to accept it.

If I summarize this innovation, it has

- Broader community to accept it as innovation – A global cause/need

- It is be feasible to adopt in any circumstances

- It presents a road map to improve till date

- It is mobile in general, I can carry it where ever I move.

- Not bound to specific area of interest.

Overall – he understood the energy and drove it in a direction that gave a solution for the problem called "Darkness.."

I think this is what we miss today, there are lots of common problems and there are various sources of energies - we need to find right energy to find a right solution.

Unless we do this we cannot call any thing that we do as an innovation….

A quick hint:

Try, it has enormous energy in terms of man power, inventory, intelligence, documentation, awareness, forum to showcase your abilities and capabilities and more over we have lot of global problems to solve…. With this energy if you can find a solution to one of the existing global problems then you are the next - Edison.

Good Luck



Hax said...

Too bad Edison did NOT invent the electric light bulb.

The first electric light was made in 1800 by Humphry Davy, an English scientist. He was in the innovator, Edison was just the marketer.

At the patent trial it was revealed he knew little or nothing about electricity. Just because he got the USA patent, means nothing.

In the end, he pushed for DC current over AC and "invented" the electric chair as a marketing stunt to "prove" that AC current was too dangerous. When "his" company GE switched to AC, he sold all his shares of GE (much to the dismay of future generations of Edisons).

Please study history in more detail. It matters.

khasim said...

Many thanks for the correction, will make sure that I confirm my postings before submitting.


aakash said...

first make sure that hax is right or not..

Hax said...


The first incandescent electric light was made in 1800 by Humphry Davy, an English scientist. He experimented with electricity and invented an electric battery. When he connected wires to his battery and a piece of carbon, the carbon glowed, producing light. Much later, in 1860, the English physicist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) was determined to devise a practical, long-lasting electric light. He found that a carbon paper filament worked well, but burned up quickly. In 1878, he demonstrated his new electric lamps in Newcastle, England.

Sundar said...

Hi Khasim,

Thats a good one. Never mind about the facts on the invention. The purpose of the post is clear though. Thanks I should join some project in soon :) and try co-inventing something ;)